Patchbay Wiring Diagram: Route The Right Way

If you are planning on using a patchbay, keep reading. It’s important to know what kind of wiring needs to be done to function properly. To do this, you’re going to need a patchbay wiring diagram.

This will help set things up smoothly. We’ll explain briefly what a patch bay is and why it’s crucial. We’ll also touch on a few things you’ll want to learn about using a patchbay. These instruments are used regularly by sound engineers and audiophiles alike.

If you are a bit tech-savvy, you might enjoy reading this. If you are a beginner and not technically inclined, we have tried and made this as simple as possible.

With that said, let’s dive right in.

What is a Patchbay?

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A patchbay allows you to connect the inputs and outputs of your outboard gear into one place. You’ll be able to route a device to another without making any complicated changes.

Plus, it doesn’t require you to use a whole lot of gear either. On the other hand, using a patchbay isn’t easy. That’s because it requires a bit of planning on your part.

This is why a patchbay wiring diagram is so essential. To familiarize yourself with a patchbay, you’ll want to know some of the basics. These include knowing which jacks are what.

Typically, the top row will be reserved for the outputs. The bottom row of jacks will be used for your inputs.

Therefore, your connections will occur from top to bottom. Now that you know the basics, we’re going to be diving into the two standard configurations you can work with.

Full-Normal Vs. Half-Normal Diagrams 

We will be showing you two different diagrams for an audio patchbay. They are known as full-normal and half-normal. I’ll also explain the difference between the two and tell you which one you should use.

Let’s begin by doing a breakdown of a full-normal patchbay:

Full-Normal Patchbay

The full-normal patchbay diagram consists of the following:

Back -> (<–Patch Cable–) Front

The output will travel through the cable when the patch cable is connected to the front (as described in the diagram above). Without the cable in place, the output will travel to the input located below it.

If you connect a preamp to outputs 1-4, you’ll want to connect it to an audio interface that has inputs 1-4. A patch cable can also be connected from one output to the other. It doesn’t have to be the same numbers.

If you want to connect a patch cable with one end on output 1 (OUT1) to input 4 (IN 4), you can do that.

Half-Normal Patchbay

The full-normal patchbay diagram consists of the following:

Back -> (<–PC-)Front

This diagram is a bit complicated. To give you a better understanding, this is designed to split the signal. One signal travels to one output of one device, and another signal travels to the other.

You can connect a preamp to their respective inputs and outputs. At the same time, you can also send it to a compressor. To do this, you patch a cable through the output of the preamp and connect it to the input of the compressor using the patchbay.

Patchbay Diagram: What To Know

Patchbay diagrams don’t have to be perfect. Plus, there is no set arrangement that you need to follow. Even though it does require planning, the diagram needs to be clear and easy to understand.

Patchbay manufacturers will have pre-set diagrams of their own that you can use. So you can use that if you want to save yourself some time rather than plan it out all on your own. However, planning your diagrams can also be a time saver.

When planning your wiring diagram, it’s essential to know what equipment is used. You can sketch out a map of where every piece of equipment is placed, such as your monitors, microphones, mixers, and so on.

From there, you will need to place the patchbay somewhere close to the equipment you want to connect. Then, you can draw the lines that represent the patch cable connections through the different inputs and outputs (and leave out the others, if needed).

A simple layout of your sound studio or setup will be the best and easiest way to plan your patchbay diagram. You also want to decide if you’re going to go full-normal or half-normal as well.

Also, we highly recommend that you attach labels to your patch bay. Especially when you are using multiple equipments. Since you’ll be using plenty of patch cables, you will be able to easily label each output and input for every piece of equipment you connect to the patchbay.

As for the cables themselves, you’ll also want to label those. Alternatively, you can consider the idea of using color-coded cables so you can make things less confusing. 

Know which equipment you plan on frequently using so you can keep things organized and spread out. To make your workspace less of a cluster, we’d suggest putting aside and storing equipment you don’t plan on using. The less clutter your space has, the more organized your setup will look.


We hope you found this guide on patchbay wiring diagrams helpful. It may seem complicated and confusing, but it’ll be easy once you get the hang of it. We highly encourage you to plan out a few diagrams from scratch in the beginning.

Your patchbay manufacturer should also have a blank template that will help you get started with the planning process. Remember to include the equipment you plan on using and nothing more.

Put together a tentative map of where your equipment can be placed and how it can be connected to the patchbay using the right inputs and outputs. It takes time and practice, but it’s worth the effort if you want everything to go smoothly.